The Power of Positive
When I was in rehab learning to cope with the consequences of a brain haemorrhage (rehab is not just for those suffering from having too much fun for too long) well meaning but very serious little people would come up to my bed and say “you must be positive.”
I was always positive, some days I was positive I would get better, other times I was positive I wanted to go home and die.
Positivity is an overrated quality. Misery is good, we all need misery to keep us grounded. What is so wrong with being negative after all we live in a negative universe, let loose a few atoms with positively charged protons instead of negatively charged electrons (aka anti – matter) and in a million years or so, two shakes of a comet’s tail in cosmic terms, the Universe would have gone pffffht!
Sometimes all the positive crap really gets up my nostrils. Be cheerful, look on the bright side? Why? I am not against happiness per se its just that being a pragmatist I reckon that in order to know we are happy we have to experience unhappiness. And if we never knew we were happy, if we never had the hope that things could get better how depressing would that be?
Don’t you hate it when people ask “is your glass half full or half empty?” People whose glass is always half full have an air of desperation, as if they are trying to cover a great void inside them. Think about it logically. Is your glass half full or half empty? You bought a drink, you drank and with luck enjoyed half of it. Stop fretting over what people think of you and enjoy the other half before it goes rancid. What good is half a glass of stale whatever to anybody? You can always get another drink if you want more when that is gone.
There, see what I mean. Your glass is not empty, your drink has simply relocated to where it can do most good.
Another one that winds me up is “it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Bollocks! Anybody who says this in the hope of consoling a dumpee is obviously incapable of love and probably of experiencing any powerful emotion. Half the fun of falling in love in the anticipation of that glorious wallow in self pity that follows being dumped. Anybody who has loved truly, madly, deeply and been dumped will know the only cure is abject misery accompanied by large doses of strong drink. “I will never love again,” wails the dumpee, “for I could never find another who is nearly so wonderful. And with that they throw themselves into bottle after bottle of beer / wine / vodka without ever stopping to ask if the glass is half full or half empty. The obligatory vow to withdraw from society and follow the celibate path of a hermit lasts just until the next time anattractive stranger makes eye contact and ventures a half smile.
Misery is like germs. Those never exposed to it do not build an immunity and so when their bubble is eventually burst they have nothing to cushion their fall.
In business too the line between positive thinking and delusion is drawn faint and fine. Is it more positive to say “we did not achieve the outcome we hoped for but many valuable lessons were learned,” or “it was a cock up from start to finish.” It should be simple of course, but whole libraries of serious little books have been written on the subject of positive thinking or the art of lying to ourselves. One such, dedicated to teaching us to model ourselves on “highly effective people” stresses the importance of always “positioning ourselves to take advantage of our opportunity.” OK, here’s a situation, its early evening and you just got out of work. You had a hell of a day and missed lunch. You pass a fast food restaurant and the smell of frying makes your mouth water. Do you position yourself to take advantage of an opportunity to consume a portion of minced lips and arseholes with onions and relish on a bread roll, or do you grab a burger?
OK so you are a corporate type and you are sitting consuming your portion of minced lips and arsehole and reflecting on your day. It was disappointing to miss out on that promotion. Do you think “I know my value and will resolve to market myself in the corporate environment more effectively in future.” This is actually the attitude of a lost soul, somebody prepared to swallow all the corporate bullshit we are spoon-fed. The truly positive person would think “they can stuff their bloody buggering job up their corporate holes, I’d rather starve than swallow any more of their bullshit.”
In short, people who try to place every experience in a positive context are afraid of facing reality. They hide their insecurities in a thin skin of conformist attitudes thus sacrificing their individuality. Sadly they also miss out on half of life’s rich tapestry. Maybe they should seek counselling.
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